I sat down to write my annual year in review post the other day. As I was jotting down thoughts, I decided I really don’t care to spend time looking back at 2016. 2016 continued 2015’s trend of WTF.
I’ve floundered since election day. My mojo was off for 1/6 of a year.
But, 2016 was also a huge growth year. I spent a lot of time doing things I love, and even more time figuring out what I love. I’ve had some big wins – getting paid to write for the first time and the opportunity to work with Premier Yarns on a sponsored post. I’d like to keep that momentum going.
And, most of the chaos and health challenges and kid drama that plagued our family in 2016 has resolved better than I would ever have believed. Big wins there, too.
What’s up for 2017
Last year was the year of having too many ideas and not enough time to create them. “Not enough time” is like, the worst excuse for anything. If you want to do something badly enough, you’ll make the time. I’ve worked out why I didn’t have enough time last year, so I’m going into 2017 armed with a time-turner and list of priorities.
Family, crafting, writing, political activism, and career: all things I want to work hard on in 2017.
But, as an overachiever, how do I avoid that familiar ugh I accomplished nothing feeling at the end of the year?
The problem has never been biting off more than I can chew. It’s always been failure to see things through. I have startitis, a bitchy and persistent inner critic, and a tendency to let how I feel dictate what I get done.
If I wake up having a low energy day, I’m patient and gentle with myself and don’t force the work. If I’m tired at 8:00, I go to bed instead of making myself work on a project I’m trying to finish. If I can’t shake the words out of my brain during writing time, I poke around on Pinterest waiting for inspiration to strike.
It’s fine to be gentle with myself and I’ve made my peace with that. But, when I’m trying to grow a blog and a freelance writing career and write a book and network and create All The Things, a month of being gentle with myself equals 1/12 of a year I’ve said fuck you to my goals.
That’s bullshit I’m not standing for in 2017.
2017: Dig Deep
I called 2016 Breathe — something I hadn’t been doing much of. Breathing was literally the only thing I was capable of many times this past year, so I’m glad I picked that word. It kept me alive.
I’m naming 2017 Dig Deep. I’m done being gentle with myself. There are so many opportunities to do amazing things, all waiting for me to get off my ass and do them. I’m not going to throw away my shot.
I have a few big year-long projects planned.
#52essays2017 – One personal essay each week. NaBloPoMo was an interesting experiment in sticking to a writing structure. A post a day was WAY much for me, because I like to futz with words and get them just right. Pumping out content so quickly means quality suffers. I’d rather write one great post a week than seven mediocre ones.
Write, Despite – This pairs with 52 Essays and Dig Deep. When things get tough, I tend to lose my voice. I’m going to be extra mindful about this and push myself through low energy days.
Temperature Blanket – This has been on my crafty bucket list for years. Would you believe I’ve never made an afghan for myself? I’m trying to work out something more interesting than rows or chevrons, but not too complex — I want this to be an easy, non-taxing project.
Clear a Shelf Challenge – I tried to hang with Booked Up and Bossy’s Clear a Shelf Challenge in December, but my life was chaos with starting a new job two weeks before Christmas. Not much reading happened. I generally tear through books but my “to read” pile is taller than my bedroom dresser. My goal in 2017 is to clear that out, along with the mini piles under my bed. Subchallenge: Destash all of those knitting and crochet pattern books I will NEVER use to make a project. Seriously, some of them have been on my shelf for over a decade and I haven’t done more than drool at the pretty pictures.
Knitting as a Political Act – Well, not just knitting but crocheting and crafting and writing and painting and quilting and hell, maybe even baking. I’m seeking out opportunities to use my talents for good. Or if not for good, to at least make a political statement. 😉
There are also some smaller projects I’d like to tackle this year.
- Afghans for my husband and two big kiddos. I really suck at projects that span long periods of time, but I’m highly motivated to give everyone I love an afghan so I will make at least three in addition to my temperature blanket.
- Pattern writing. The “to design” list is lonnnnnnng. I’m going to assign one concept to each month and get started.
- The fabric stash calls my name every time I move it from one closet to another. I’d like to attempt a simple quilt this year, and also keep working on learning to make plushies.
- Last year I made a tiny, necklace sized weaving. I really enjoyed the process and I’d like to do more of that.
- Graphic design. I love playing around with making art on the computer. I’d like to branch out from making mugs and t-shirts – it has been a surprisingly successful business venture, and it makes my heart sing.
- Editorial calendar. I have more writing ideas than I can manage. I have a stack of half-finished blog posts that aren’t published because I am prone to the “oooh shiny new idea” distraction.
- I have a bucket list of sites and publications I’d like to write for, and I also have a children’s book series outlined. I haven’t done it yet, but I really need to do some goal setting here. It’s so easy to say “eh, I’ll do it next week” and then forget to create time for it.
- Food co-op. I’ve hooked up with some awesome people who are exploring the idea of opening a food co-op in a nearby town. I’m really excited to get to be a part of that project!
- If I can turn all of the above into a new career direction, I will be a happy camper indeed. I’m looking for writing opportunities and a way to translate my paralegal experience into a virtual paralegal/research assistant/VA type of thing. I’m putting all of this out into the universe because that’s how it works, right? It’s actually scary now that I’ve said it out loud.
- The list of crochet and knitting projects I’d like to do is too long, and my stack of WIPs is ridiculous. I don’t know if either of those things will ever be under control, but if I can find a way to add some structure and make a dent, I will. Send me your ideas!
I’m looking forward to a busy and productive year. 2017 won’t blow because I won’t allow it. Yes, our political climate is a shitstorm, and what we are witnessing right now is terrifying. But I’m going to dig deep and not allow the daily horrors to affect me so much that I become paralyzed.
Let’s Talk About It!
Whatcha working on in 2017? What are you most proud of accomplishing in 2016?
What do you want to leave behind, and what would you like to grow?
Happy New Year!